Jena Time Out.jpg

TIMEOUT/ Bartender Tales: Jena Ellenwood of Proof + Gage

Have you noticed any trends in the industry recently?
Teams that are woman-based. It’s not just dudes in suspenders. There have been a lot of female-led teams in the past, but in the last year, I feel like there’s been a lot of press and attention around it, which is exciting. 

What’s your biggest customer pet peeve?
“Make it strong.” There’s already up to two ounces of liquor in the cocktail. Are you asking for a double of booze, or do you want me to omit the other ingredients in that drink?


Edible brooklyn / NYC honey week returns to crown the next queen bee at cocktail classic

Edible Brooklyn: Why is honey such a great cocktail ingredient?
Jena Ellenwood: Honey is such an awesome and versatile cocktail ingredient because the nuances vary depending on where it’s sourced. Honey doesn’t just add sweetness; it can add weight and roundness, grassy notes or floral ones. Honey is soothing—we use it when we’re sick to help calm our throats (Hot Toddy, anyone?). For me, honey invokes memories of tea with my grandma; it’s a familiar flavor linked to sense memories. The honey that we use in our Queens Courage New York Old Tom Gin comes from apiaries upstate, as well as the Brooklyn Grange rooftop hives. The honey gives the gin weight and sweetness, and I think makes it a very cocktail-friendly spirit.


paper / cocktail of the week: the smokey buffalo manhattan at sparrow tavern

While at this summer's Tales of the Cocktail, the annual hedonistic booze convention in New Orleans, Jena Ellenwood attended a tasting of George Dickel Tennessee whiskey. "They were pouring cocktails through smoked wood chips--delicious but impractical--serving them on one giant rock," recalls the bar mistress of Sparrow Tavern, Astoria's pre-eminent tippling joint.